Walton County • Florida

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Walton County • Florida

Walton County Florida

OFFICE of the SHERIFF

ANNUAL REPORT

2009


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LETTER FROM THE SHERIFF

It is my pleasure to bring you this 2009 Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Annual Report. This report will focus on both

the accomplishments and challenges of 2009, and will highlight the various divisions within our agency. Since elected your

Sheriff in November 2008, many changes have taken place at the WCSO. Over the course of the past year, our agency has faced

many challenges due to unprecedented incidents of violence that demanded our immediate attention, all while we continued to

improve the organizational functions of the Sheriff’s office.

The WCSO serves as the primary law enforcement agency for Walton County, home to roughly 60,000 residents, up to 150,000

visitors during peak summer and holiday times, and covers approximately 1,238 square miles.

This past year saw the Sheriff’s Office rising to unprecedented challenges such as making arrests on 4 separate first-degree murder cases. One of

these cases was Walton County’s first mass shooting incident in which five Chilean exchange students were shot, killing two. Furthermore, WCSO

Investigators seized 23 methamphetamine laboratories and made significant in-roads into the illicit drug’s hierarchy.

To give you an idea about the volume of service provided during the past year, WCSO deputies responded to over 100,000 calls for service for the

citizens of Walton County, conducted 15,278 traffic stops, and made 3,319 arrests during the year. Your Walton County Deputies brought a murderer

to justice, with his choice to commit suicide after being wounded during a shootout with Walton County Deputies. This was after he murdered two

Okaloosa County deputies and led law enforcement on pursuit into Walton County.

The Deputies consistently placed themselves in harm’s way to protect the citizens of Walton County. They did so without regard to their own safety,

and by doing so have brought great respect to our profession. I am especially proud of the men and women, both uniformed and civilian, who not only

responded to the challenges, but did so in a manner that demonstrates our “Commitment to Excellence.” They are dedicated, ethical, hardworking, and

eager, as we continue our journey to improve our services to you, our citizens.

We have also enjoyed outstanding cooperation with our state and area law enforcement agencies and government officials, and for that, I am appreciative.

I am honored and humbled to lead this top law enforcement agency, with the staff who are dedicated to protect, serve and support our community with the

highest degree of integrity. We look forward to our continuous goal to perform our duties in a manner that demonstrates our “Commitment to Excellence”.

Michael A. Adkinson, Jr.

Capt. Michael Barker

Chief of Emergency

Management & Public Safety

Communications Division

Bill Chapman

Undersheriff

Capt. Robert Butler

Chief of Uniform

Patrol Division

EXECUTIVE STAFF

Tammy Jo Godwin

Executive Assistant

to the Sheriff

Capt. Graham W. Fountain

Chief of Special

Operations Division

Henry D. Alford

Chief of Administrative

Services Division

Capt. Tom Ring

Chief of Criminal

Investigation Division

Minette Bruce

Chief Financial Officer

Capt. Keith Westphal

Chief - Professional

Standards Division


ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DIVISION

The Administrative Services Division is the support hub of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. This division

is under the direction of Chief H.D. Alford. The Sections within the Administrative Services Division

support everything from the individual employee to processing all records associated with work performed

by the deputies of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. The various sections in the Administrative Services

Division include: Purchasing, Human Resources, Records, and the Vehicle Maintenance section.

Accomplishment’s from January 1, 2009:

Established a Key Control Policy for the Agency in order to enhance the security of the Agency’s

installations, and assets and seek to minimize opportunities for theft and damage to its property or harm to its

visitors and staff. Accordingly, as part of a comprehensive security system upgrade, a high security lock

format has been systematically introduced in all Agency administration buildings. Additional manual

locking, electronic access control devices have been installed in a number of areas.

Utilization of space on the second floor of Headquarters was enhanced by purchasing and assembling five, 20x20 expanded

metal cages with a roof system and locking door. This space is now being utilized by Property, Special Operations, Evidence,

Records, Human Resources and Finance.

Recognized six different off-site locations of storage units through out the County whereby the Agency was paying storage

rates per month on items that could be removed and destroyed or cleaned up and sold at public auction. The agency recognized

a savings of more than $25,000 a year by eliminating these commercial storage facilities. Identified and collected surplus

items, old unclaimed evidence, and property that was ready for disposal and sold at public auction which yielded the Agency

approximately $63,000.

Identified the inefficient and out dated fuel system and replaced it with a more efficient and updated system which includes a

tracking and reporting feature that will allow us to track fuel usage more accurately.

Comdata fuel cards were introduced so a deputy may use fuel that is closer to them saving mileage and time. With this system

the deputy can stay in his zone longer and doesn’t have to drive to Headquarters or the South substation in order to re-fuel.

Re-location of the Agency’s mechanical shop and its entire inventory and staff to Headquarters in order to enhance productivity

while maintaining accurate inventory of parts and tools. In doing so we were able to identify and collect surplus vehicles and equipment

and make them ready for disposal or sale at public auction.

Instrumental in writing and creating General Orders for the Agency.

Cleaned out two storage facility units, full of department records. Separated and purged records

that had met retention date. All old jail records were inventoried and turned over to the Walton

County Department of Corrections.

SmartCop Module became utilized for scanning report attachments and accident reports

Previously accidents had to be scanned into separate scanning software.

Records Department is 85% paperless since the beginning of January 2009. The only paper files

having to be utilized and stored are those from Investigations.

Changed from using a shredder to utilizing a shred company. Saved time and money based on saving of personnel time spent

shredding and cost of repairs and replacement to a shredder.

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FINANCE DIVISION

The Finance Division led by Minette Bruce, supports the Sheriff’s Office in several ways. One is by

providing financial management and reporting for the agency including accounts payable, accounts

receivable, banking, and general ledger activity. Finance provides payroll processing including time

and attendance reporting, preparing semi-monthly payroll, and direct deposit of employee pay. They

are also responsible for payroll tax, unemployment reports, benefit payments, and other deductions

from pay. Finance prepares the annual budget, and complies with requirements for the annual audit.

Coordinating and reporting for grants, as well as ensuring we comply with all Federal and State

financial laws as well as internal control policies and procedures to safeguard the departments’

assets, also falls under Finance.

Accounting and Budget

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office total general fund budget for the fiscal year October 1,

2009 through September 30, 2010 is $15,524,550. Salaries, wages and benefits represent

$12.3 million (79%) of the budget. Operating expenses of $2.8 million (18%) consists of fuel

and other supplies, technology related expenses, repairs and maintenance, communications,

utilities and liability and auto insurance. Capital equipment of $.4 million (3%) includes

vehicles and laptop computers.

The Sheriff’s Office has also taken a proactive approach to training and crime

prevention through the use of various Special Revenue funds.

Grant Writing and Administration

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office hired a grants administrator as a result of funding awarded

by the U.S. Department of Justice Recovery Act grant. The grants administrator oversees the

monitoring and reporting of current recovery grants within the Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the operating budget the Sheriff’s Office receives funding from various grants. During

the current year, the Sheriff’s Office has obtained over $2 million in grants for various projects ranging

from Emergency Operation Center (EOC) relocation to development of a first class crime scene unit.

Other projects funded by grants include the purchasing of additional weapons (Tasers and patrol

rifles), upgrading several Patrol laptops to touch screens, hiring a Victims Advocate Coordinator, and

purchasing specialty equipment for EOC and Aviation.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION

The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is the heart and soul of solving crimes. CID provides services to methodically review and

investigate crime. The Sheriff’s Office investigators have a wide array of law enforcement experience. The Sheriff’s Office Criminal

Investigation Division is lead by Captain Tom Ring.

CID is divided into Persons, Property, Vice and Narcotics, Evidence, and our Crime Scene Unit. A Special Victims Unit was added to

Persons squad in late 2009 and is primarily responsible for crimes involving children.

Narcotic Activity

Through November of 2009 a total of twenty three clandestine methamphetamine labs were

worked and twenty two arrests were made. (Only 6 clandestine labs were dismantled in 2008)

Through November of 2009, 255 narcotics cases had been assigned and worked.


Narcotic Investigators Probable Cause Arrest since June 1, 2009 equaled thirty five compared to ten from the last quarter of 2008.

The Property division has seen an increase in property related crimes throughout this year. Unfortunately, Persons investigations dealt

with several homicides in which arrests were made in every case.

Other achievements for CID included completing a full evidence room and evidence audit. The Agency was able to close six monthly

storage facilities by organizing and consolidating their evidence into the headquarters building. Evidence management was converted to

a bar-coded automated tracking system with hard copy back-up for chain of custody purposes.

CID now operates under a single case management system. Prior to January of 2009, Vice-

Narcotics was on one system, Persons and Property were on a separate “hard-copy” system

and some information was being placed in a third software system. All three of these systems

were consolidated into the Agency’s primary database system so that now suspect, witness,

and victim information can be indexed and searched and more readily cross referenced.

This year CID also added a Crime Intelligence Analyst to support the agency through work

load analysis and to support investigations through case work analysis. A clerk was also

added to assist in completing reports, contacting witnesses and managing calls coming into

the Criminal Investigations Division.

Swat Team

Beginning in early fall of 2009, and made possible through a Federal grant, the Walton County

Sheriff’s Office took the first steps in developing a Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT).

The team is strictly volunteer. Members who were interested went through initial physical standards

assessments based upon the “Cooper Institute” physical conditioning guidelines. Members then

began basic classroom training, team deployment, team movement, search warrant entry training,

and dignitary protection training. Training is continuous with minimum monthly training standards

and periodic physical assessments. Most equipment has been delivered for the Team and the SWAT

team is on schedule to be operational in April 2010. Regardless of having a SWAT team in place, the

Walton County Sheriff’s Office has continued to serve search and arrest warrants on persons with a

violent history. As the Team members have received training to execute such warrants more safely

and with written operational plans, Team members have been utilized more and more. This is a normal

progression in the development of a new team and it simply makes sense to put those receiving such

training in these higher hazard roles. Planned through the first of 2010 is a continuation of less than

lethal munitions training to help ensure greater safety to the residents of Walton County and our

visitors when it is necessary for the WCSO to react to violent persons.

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS DIVISION

The Professional Standards Division includes Accreditation, Internal Affairs, Training, Staff Inspections, and Policy Review. The

sections within the Professional Standards Division provide a variety of services to the other divisions and citizens of Walton

County. Division sections are responsible for investigating internal and citizen- generated complaints of alleged misconduct against

employees; provide in-service training to Deputies, conduct firearms safety training for the general public; perform staff inspections

on other sections; develop and review agency policies; and ensures the agency is meeting the accreditation standards set forth by the

Commission on Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. Captain Keith Westphal serves as the Chief Inspector of this Division.

Great strides have been made within the Walton County Sheriff’s Office since January 2009 in the areas of policy and procedure.

Forty-six new general orders have been written by employees of the WCSO and approved by Sheriff Adkinson. Following the notable

polices are enumerated:

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General Order 2-15, Awards. Many employees of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, both sworn and non-sworn, perform “above and

beyond the call of duty”. The Sheriff’s Office developed the formal awards policy so that superior performance and accomplishments

could be recognized throughout the agency. The new policy addresses nominations, which can be made by any agency member who

has knowledge or facts which support a nomination. The nominations are reviewed by the individual’s immediate supervisor, as

well as the Division Chief. If these individuals concur with the nomination, it is then forwarded to the Awards Review Committee

for consideration.

As a result of this new policy, the first awards ceremony was held on September 24, 2009. Awards were presented to many deserving

Sheriff’s Office employees.

A subsequent awards presentation was held in December 2009. Regularly scheduled presentations will take place quarterly in the future.

General Order 2-20, Drug Free Workplace. It is the policy of the Walton County Sheriff’s

Office to be and to remain a drug free workplace. As a result, the drug free workplace

policy was signed by Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr., effective September 1, 2009.

The first random drug screening was conducted in September 2009 from a computerbased

random sampling and included twenty Walton County Sheriff’s Office employees.

Smaller numbers of random drug screens will be conducted on a monthly basis.

Prior to offers of employment, all applicants will undergo a drug screen. In addition,

employees can be tested after critical incidents or in the case where reasonable

suspicion exists.

General Order 1-12, Sexual Predators and Offenders. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office strives to protect its citizens, as evidence by

the policy regarding sexual predators and offenders.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office continues to do community notification regarding predators, as required by Florida Statutes. In

addition, the WCSO has face-to-face contact with every sexual predator and offender residing within the County. This occurs at the

predators/offender’s home. This contact is not required by Statute but this proactive program was developed to further ensure the safety

of all residents of Walton County, especially its children. Visits are not scheduled but made on a random basis by patrol deputies. As a

result, sexual predators and offenders who are not in compliance with Florida Statutes are quickly identified and law enforcement action

can be taken, if necessary.

General Order 2-2, Selection. This policy was signed by Sheriff Adkinson, effective October 1, 2009. The selection policy was written

and instituted by Sheriff Adkinson to begin and then maintain a fair and equitable selection process designed to employ the best-qualified

employees. All elements of the selection process are job related and non-discriminatory. After an applicant successfully completes the

initial steps of the hiring process, the applicant’s package is forwarded to the Personnel Selection Board for review. If the applicant’s

package is acceptable, additional steps are necessary, i.e., physical examination, background investigation, drug screen, and psychological

exam. Once the applicant successfully completes the process, the applicant will be placed on the availability list and formally approved

for hire by the Sheriff or Undersheriff.

This policy ensures a non-biased, fair hiring process.

Accreditation

In November 2009, Walton County Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr. signed a contract to enter into an agreement with the Commission

for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation to seek accreditation for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.


There are many benefits to employees of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, as well as to the community:

Accreditation increases the WCSO’s ability to prevent and control crime through the effective

and efficient delivery of law enforcement services.

Accreditation will enhance the community’s understanding of the WCSO and its role in the

community, as well as its goals and objectives. Citizen confidence in the policies and practices

of the agency is increased.

Accreditation commits the Walton County Sheriff’s Office to a broad range of programs that

directly benefit the public.

Accreditation creates a forum in which deputies and citizens work together to control and

prevent crime.

IA Investigations

During 2009 there were thirty eight (38) complaints/disciplinary action reviews by the internal affairs section agency wide. This includes

twenty four (24) formal complaints, twelve (12) Supervisory Investigations, and two (2) special investigations. Out of the thirty eight (38)

complaints/disciplinary actions, there were sixty three (63) policy violations investigated, of the sixty three (63) policy violations, ten

(10) were exonerated, nine (9) were unfounded, six (6) were not sustained, twenty nine (29) were sustained, six (6) were administratively

closed and three (3) are pending.

Use of Force/Pursuit Review

During 2009 there were thirty one (31) use of force reviews and three (3) pursuit reviews conducted by the Internal Affairs Office. The

thirty one (31) use of force and three (3) pursuit cases were investigated in detail and justified.

Quality Control

The Internal Affairs Section is responsible for the receipt, processing, and investigation of allegations made against members of the

Sheriff’s Office, whether, sworn or civilian. The 2009 annual report includes a statistical analysis of all complaints, disciplinary action,

use of force review and pursuit reviews conducted. Additionally and at the direction of the Sheriff, the Internal Affairs Section conducts

quality control checks to ensure members of the Agency are following policy and procedure set by the agency. These checks consist of

patrol and investigative protocols, agency reporting workflow and departmental policy compliance.

TRAINING SECTION

The Training Section’s mission is to provide all employees with training opportunities that will

develop and enhance their individual skill while respecting the diversity of the individual and their

unique talents. The Section provides cutting edge training that reflects current and future trends in

law enforcement and prepares the individual with the skills necessary for today’s law enforcement

professional. The Section is lead by Lieutenant Joe Preston and Sergeant Andy Casavant.

This year the training Section has been very active. In 2009 the total training hours for all employees

is 10,974. Of those hours, 7,173 hours and 53 classes were conducted internally. Approximately

960 man-hours were accumulated in instruction and approximately 265 man-hours in lesson plan/

classroom preparation.

There were six Civilian Firearms Classes held this year with a total of 124 individuals trained. These classes resulted in 168 man-hours

incurred by our instructors.

The firing range was used by seven different outside agencies with a total of 259 outside personnel trained on our range. This resulted in

216 man-hours incurred by a Firearms Instructor serving as Range Master for these outside agencies.

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The training department also accomplished the following during 2009:

Issued and trained 94 personnel on Tasers.

Issued and trained 47 personnel on Patrol Rifles to date.

Developed and implemented a Block Training program that trained 71 members in five months.

Developed and implemented a comprehensive Defensive Tactics program. To date we have trained 14 employees.

Developed and implemented a two-week in-house training academy for new employee’s prior to their entering the Field Training

and Evaluation Program (FTEP.)

UNIFORM PATROL DIVISION

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Uniform Patrol Division consists of eighty-one members; one captain, four watch commanders,

twelve sergeants, and sixty-four deputies. Captain Robert Butler leads the Patrol division. This year the Patrol Division implemented

four twelve hour shifts. Each shift is manned with a watch commander, who covers the entire county. The northern district of the county

is covered by one sergeant and seven deputies, the central district is covered with one sergeant and three deputies, and the southern

district is covered with one sergeant and six deputies each shift.

Deputies have undergone a minimum of forty hours of hands on training in 2009. Deputies are

required to attend a week of in-service block training, which encompasses all FDLE mandatory

training, firearm, CPR, Constitutional Law, and force on force training. In addition to block

training deputies received patrol rifle training, Glock, and defensive tactics training this year.

In 2009 the patrol division made some substantial changes to the equipment used by the deputies

and replaced all old out-dated equipment. Deputies are now carrying a Glock pistol. Bushmaster

patrol rifles and X26 tasers are now being issued to all deputies and the in-car computers are

being converted to Toughbook computers.

This year there were four officer involved shootings. The first occurred when a Deputy responded to a

residence North of DeFuniak Springs off of State Highway 83, in reference to a subject with a firearm

threatening suicide. Upon arrival to the residence, the Deputy was confronted by the armed male

subject. The subject refused to comply with the Deputy’s orders, raised his gun at the Deputy, and the

Deputy responded by firing his service pistol at the subject, striking him once in the arm.

The second shooting occurred when two Okaloosa County deputies were shot and killed by a man they were trying to arrest. The suspect

fled and was intercepted by Walton County Deputies. The deputies rammed the suspects’ car and a shootout ensued, ending when the

suspect took his own life.

The third is when a Deputy responded to a domestic call in Freeport and the suspect refused to comply with his orders and confronted him.

The final officer involved shooting, occurred when officers found a bank robber sleeping in his truck and shots were fired. This lead to

a high speed chase and a three day manhunt that ended when the suspect took his own life.

Patrol Deputies perform many services for the citizens of Walton County. This year the patrol division made over three thousand

arrest total, of which two hundred were DUI arrest. In addition to these arrests, patrol deputies also:.

Assisted over 4,200 citizens with various needs such as: disabled vehicles, changing tires, giving directions

Provided escorts for 120 funeral processions


Responded to 471 medical assist calls

Preformed 1,573 sex offender address verifications

Provided 6,457 miscellaneous security checks

Returned 3,105 phone calls to answer questions

Worked 1600 traffic accidents

Made 15,278 traffic stops

Responded to 925 vehicle lock-outs

In all, 2009 was a very successful year for the patrol division. Many changes were

made to assist the deputies in providing a higher level of service to the citizens

of Walton County. By receiving more consistent training and making changes to

weapons and technology used, deputies are now better prepared for the situations

they will face while on duty.

TECHNOLOGY SECTION

Beginning in 2009 more emphasis has been placed on the technology throughout the agency. A strategic plan was created and Inspector

Donnie Clark was assigned to oversee the long-term project. The focus of the Section in the coming year will be to simplify the Agencies’

day to day operation by utilizing cutting edge technology. The Section will focus on providing the highest level of support to the Agency

and its members. The Section will research and implement new technology as it is developed. The section will also reconfigure the RMS/

CAD database to better suit the agencies’ needs.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Redesigned and printed all name badges for the new administration.

Joined the county’s network to reduce cost and share resources.

u Upgraded the email system to Microsoft Exchange

u Re-programmed the entire network (switches, routers, and firewalls).

Helped consolidate the North and South end dispatch centers.

Played a key role in the EOC Consolidation Project.

Purchased 47 ToughBooks and deployed them to deputies.

u The ToughBooks were part of a turn-key solution developed by the IT Department

that included the car mount, antenna, wiring, ToughBook, and software.

Purchased and deployed Netmotion to help with deputy connectivity.

www.waltonso.org re-launched this year with a completely new look.

Launched a completely new intranet site for internal use throughout the agency.

Played a major role in the new fuel system.

u As part of the new fuel system project, we were able to combine the door card, gas card, and ID card into one.

Moved Civil Process to the Court House to consolidate with Court Services.

u Tied the two phone systems together.

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EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATION DIVISION

The Emergency Management and Public Safety Communication

Division is responsible for Emergency Management for Walton

County, Communication Centers for Sheriff’s Office dispatch,

Fire and EMS dispatch, and the primary answering point for the

County’s E911 system. The Division also manages and operates

the County’s Emergency Operation Center, and is in charge of the

Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.

Our Division is the life line for our public safety system in Walton County. Beginning with the initial 9-1-1 call for help, and ending

when the last public safety unit leaves the scene, the Emergency Management and Public Safety Communication Division is the

“safety line” of our organization and provides critical emergency services on which our community depends.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT/DISASTER RESPONSE

Emergency Management became the responsibility of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office on June 1,2009. Emergency Management is

responsible for the systematic response to all major emergencies in Walton County. Major emergencies like hurricanes, tornadoes, and

floods are organized in a team effort coordinated through the Emergency Management Section with all the other governmental agencies

and infrastructure agencies in the panhandle of Florida. Emergency Management is responsible for the early warning of approaching

storms and the organized response to these disasters. During 2009, the Emergency Operations Center activated for two hurricanes/

tropical storms, Claudette and Ida. It was also activated for major flooding in April 2009. Emergency Management’s coordination

ensures that the assets of Walton County are protected and used, for the safety and well being of all persons in Walton County.

08-16-2009 Activated the Emergency Operations Center for Tropical Storm Claudette to provide both logistical and operational

support to our sister agencies during disaster to better protect and serve the citizens and visitors of the County.

08-28-2009 Provided logistical support to the numerous agencies responding to the man hunt for

Matthew Pitkas in South Walton.

11-09-2009 Activated the Emergency Operations Center for Hurricane Ida.

12-01-2009 Staffed the Emergency Operations Center for severe weather outbreak incident.

12-15-2009 Staffed the Emergency Operations Center for “December Flooding”.

Some accomplishments for the Emergency Management section this year are:

This Section has scheduled and presented disaster preparedness community meetings throughout the County to the citizens to

better prepare them for disasters.

Attended health fair events at local Elementary Schools throughout the County to provide students with information

about surviving disasters and how to prepare for them both at home and school.

The Emergency Management Section has sent out emergency notifications using the Rapid Notify System on 13 different occasions

during dangerous emergency situations throughout the County for the safety of the citizens. These situations ranged from severe

weather to dangerous felons and escaped prisoners. This system provides citizens with immediate up to date information in regards

to their life safety.

The Section has located all of the communications towers in the county and near the county lines to be potential

locations for bettering the communications system that is currently in place to provide a more trustworthy and dependable form of

communications to the officers and responders in the field.

Emergency Management personnel continually work to locate and document hazardous material locations in the County, and

write response plans for each of these location during hazard analysis inspections. These inspections are funded through grant monies

from the state for a total of $4,901.00 annually. This money is spent on the response to future hazardous material incidents.


The Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan update has been completed and approved by the Board of County

Commissioners and the State of Florida, for the time ending 2009 and is back in the amending stage to incorporate the

transition to the Office of the Sheriff.

Made classroom presentations to high schools in regards to protecting themselves during various types of emergencies and disasters

Help several schools write and test their own hazardous material response plan’s.

Made presentations to all of the local Elementary Schools using the live “disaster simulator” to show the real life feeling of

tornados and severe weather and how to prepare and what action to take should they encounter this as a real life situation.

The Section works in cooperation with numerous sister agencies to better prepare the communities for disasters of all types. The

cooperation effort allows us to reach a broader area by using additional advertising venues to ensure that the information is getting

to the largest possible audience.

Currently writing the Continuity of Operations Plan for the Agency which is under review by Senior Staff at this time.

Applied for and received financial reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the damages and

emergency response to the flooding that occurred during 2009.

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS

The Public Safety Communications section of our Division is responsible for the receiving and sending of all emergency related

communications received on emergency 9-1-1 lines, administrative non-emergency lines, and various other sources. Calls are entered

into a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System and Communication Officers dispatch the appropriate law enforcement, fire, or

emergency medical resources to the scene. They relay information gathered from persons in need of help to the appropriate resources

for all incidents. They are responsible for the safety of all deputies, firemen and county emergency medical personnel by relaying the

information for calls for help in an orderly and professional fashion. We ensure the safety of all these personnel by keeping track of their

status and providing additional resources and support. Dispatchers are responsible for specific functions, such as law enforcement, firerescue,

and information/support transactions through a national/state criminal justice computer network.

Since January 2009, two dispatch centers that the Sheriff’s Office operated have been consolidated into one. This resulted in a more

efficient operation of communications, as well as eliminating costly electronic equipment that was duplicated, which would have required

updating in the near future. This consolidation has also eliminated dropped calls and increased response time of emergency personnel,

by not having to transfer emergency calls to a second dispatch location.

Some accomplishments that we are proud of this year are:

Lead Communication Officers were designated to provide shift supervision for communications personnel.

Radio identifiers were placed in the agency’s communication system that identifies the officer when calling into the dispatch center.

This is a valuable tool for officer safety should the officer need assistance and could only key up their radio.

Programming of the agency’s radios was taken in house by this section, which is a cost savings to the taxpayers.

The development of a training program for Communication Officers began in August of 2009. This will be a valuable program for

efficient operations of the dispatch center. Also cross training of Law Enforcement, Fire and Medical dispatching was initiated.

Applied for and received $214,685.49 from state grants, for dispatch consolidation and maintenance of the county’s E911 system,

and maintenance of the answering point for the DeFuniak Springs Police Department.

Plans have been developed to consolidate Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Medical dispatch into one dispatch center in early 2010. This

will eliminate dropped calls through phone lines, between the Emergency Operations Center dispatch, and the Sheriff’s Office,

which could save lives.

Established a county wide communications committee.

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HONOR GUARD

The Honor Guard is led by Sgt. Harold Shover, and its members are screened and

chosen based on very strict guidelines. A new professional Honor Guard uniform

was designed for the agency this past year. The Honor Guard performs at functions

such as funerals of fellow officers, military members, high profile and honorary

events. The conduct and appearance of Honor Guard members is held to a very high

standard. It is an elite group that is dedicated to be second to none to represent

Walton County, and the Sheriff’s office.

SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION

The Special Operations and Support Division is comprised of over fifty (50) dedicated law enforcement officers and support personnel

that perform a wide array of specialized and unique roles in the agency. The goal of the new division established in January of 2009, has

been to enhance services to the citizens in the areas of non-traditional public safety, while removing much of the burdens from the patrol

division which is responsible for the day to day answering of calls for service and aggressive patrol of our county. Special Operations is

commanded by Captain Graham Fountain.

The Division is comprised of three sections headed up by a SES Commander (Lieutenant) and staffed with first line supervisors

(Sergeants), and sworn Deputy Sheriffs who are specially training and equipped for unique duties and responsibilities.

The following programs are included:

Court Security

School Resource Officers

Traffic Enforcement

K/9 and Contraband Interdiction

Homeland Security

Beach/Marine Unit

Warrants/Fugitives Unit

Civil Process

Citizen Services/Crime Prevention

Aviation

Environmental Enforcement

In 2009, the Division saw a banner year of organizing new programs and had many

accomplishments which included:

A new K/9 team was assembled after the selection of four (4) new handlers and the acquisition of three new drug dogs. Each team of

dog and handler was required to attend a specialized regiment of training and then be certified for use in court. The teams did very well

with the certification trials and are on the street making drug arrests, assisting patrol in both vehicle and building searches and well as

tracking human beings who are sought after by law enforcement.

The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program was enhanced this year by renegotiation the contract with the school system in order

to reprioritize the usage of SROs in the county schools and adding two supervisory SROs to provide a new level of supervision in


the program that was much needed. Adding these supervisors not only assisted in some additional

oversight, but also provided a manpower multiplier that puts more deputies in the schools with our

students; which continues to be a high priority in our agency and the Superintendent’s office.

Earlier in the year prior to the establishment of the Division of Emergency Management and

Communications, the Division conducted the complex assessment of emergency operations in the

county and prepared and presented a proposal to the Walton County Board of Commissioners that

recommended the Sheriff take over the operation and control of the county Emergency Operations Center and Joint Public Safety

Dispatch. Upon the approval of that proposal, these duties were then transferred over to the new Division.

With the assistance and support of the Board of County Commissioners, the Division started

its first Environmental Enforcement Program, with the transfer of one position from County

Code Enforcement to the Sheriff to become a sworn law enforcement officer. They conduct

investigations and take police action against those who would commit crimes that threaten

our natural resources and pristine environment.

Three new volunteer programs were begun that allow citizens to volunteer their time and energies towards missions that assist the Sheriff

and the public. The public can now apply and be selected to serve in the Reserve Deputy Program after meeting sworn law enforcement

standards and requirements; The Sheriff’s Posse, for persons wishing to volunteer their time as auxiliary law enforcement officers to

assist the agency’s full-time members; and as Civilian Volunteer/Intern Corps for members of the public who wish to give back some

time to their community while assisting the Sheriff in many support and outreach programs.

The Aviation Section was virtually non-existent prior to January 2009. Since the start of the new administration, two pilots have been

assigned to the unit. With the assistance of several other police agencies and the federal government’s spare parts program, the agency

began an initiative to overhaul and update the maintenance on the two (2) military surplus aircraft and the aircraft hanger which is in

very poor condition. The Aviation Section has flown over 120 mission hours which include missions within Walton County and mutual

aid support missions throughout the Panhandle. The Section also became part of Northwest Florida Regional Domestic Security Task

Force, and has received over $250,000 state grant dollars to purchase a new FLIR system for one of the aircraft, which will enhance

our mission to support the ground units in reducing crime in Walton County. To round off the equipment purchases and enhanced

maintenance efforts, aviation personnel have received additional training that will benefit officer’s safety and the quality of service we

provide to the public.

The Beach/Marine Section was reorganized to better serve our citizens and visitors enjoying the wonderful sugar white beaches of

Walton County. New all terrain vehicles and 4X4 patrol trucks have been brought on line in order to keep active patrols on the beach,

as well as assist in special operations during disasters, searches and rescue operations. Deputies assigned to this section assisted in the

rescue of several drowning swimmers, searched for and located several missing children on the beach, and performed water rescues from

the agency’s patrol vessel during the summer months and storm activations.

After a careful review of the agency’s warrant and extradition functions, one extradition deputy position was eliminated, and two

full-time warrants/fugitive deputy positions were added in order to tackle the caseload of over 8,000 warrants that remained from the

previous administration. The unit has been very effective in reducing the amount of criminals at large, and the deputies and supervisory

personnel have been cross designated as Deputy Federal Marshals in order to submit local cases to the area taskforces and travel out of

the local jurisdiction to make arrests on outstanding warrants.

With the addition of two Citizen Services Specialists, the front desks of both the Defuniak Springs HQ and the South Walton Substation are

manned during business hours to assist the public with the filling of reports, doing criminal registrations, fingerprinting for applications,

and a whole host of other services. The Crime Prevention Section within citizen’s services has been very active during the year and has

attended and sponsored hundreds of events throughout the county in order to do community outreach and reduce crime.

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The WCSO Court Security Section serves on the front lines at providing protection to Walton

County’s Circuit and County Court Judges, Constitutional Officers, and the many visitors

that conduct business at the County Courthouse in Defuniak Springs and the South Walton

Courthouse Annex. Six court security deputies and one deputy supervisor conduct required

screening to keep dangerous weapons out of the courthouse and serve as bailiffs for each term

of court as directed by the Chief Judge. They provide security and transportation for court

juries as they hear testimony and deliberate on criminal and civil cases. Members of this section

also provide security for all meetings of the Walton County Board of County Commissioners,

and serve a vital role in assisting in the service of arrest warrants, commitment orders, and

civil process on persons who transverse the courthouse on a daily basis.

YEAR IN REVIEW:

December 29 ~ Former Sheriff Ralph Johnson retired prior to his official end of term. Upon his retirement effective December 31,

2008, Florida Governor Charlie Christ appointed Sheriff-Elect Michael A. Adkinson, Jr. effective January 1, 2009 at 12:01 AM.

January 6 ~ Sheriff Adkinson participated, along with the other constitutional officers in the official swearing in ceremony.

January 8 ~ A Walton County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested for Public Intoxication and Possession of an Alcoholic Beverage in a dry

county. After reviewing the case, Sheriff Adkinson ordered the deputy be terminated from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

January 22 ~ Jeffery Duane Wood was arrested and charged with one count of perjury, one count of open house party, and one count of

contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Following the early morning tragic vehicle accident of January 2, information was developed

implicating Woods as a suspect who may have provided alcoholic beverages to minors.

January 26 ~ A cooperative effort of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Southwest Search and Rescue K9 / Emotional First

Aid Team from Cantonment, FL and Foley, AL led to the recovery of remains of Alzheimer’s patient Mr. Collin Hale. Mr. Hale had been

missing since July, 2008.

February 11 ~ Deputies responded to a residence North of DeFuniak Springs off of State Highway 83, in reference to a subject with

a firearm threatening suicide. Upon arrival to the residence the deputy was confronted by the armed male subject. The subject refused

to comply with the deputy’s orders. The subject raised his gun at the deputy and the deputy responded by firing his service pistol at the

subject, striking him once in the arm.

February 19 ~ Lt. Jason Adkinson and Sgt. Ryan Brown assisted with a youth hunt on the Eglin Air Force Base Reservation. The hunt

is held each year for children with disabilities.

February 23 ~ The Walton County Sheriff’s Office held the first civilian pistol safety class of the year.

February 26 ~ An early morning shooting in Miramar Beach, left two people dead and three more

injured after shots from a high powered rifle were fired into the town home. The town home was occupied

by several Chilean Nationals visiting on student work visas. Suspect Danny Baker was taken into custody

without incident after a four hour standoff.

March 18 ~ The Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigated an armed robbery at the SunTrust Bank on County Road 395 in Watercolor.

Suspect Thomas Joseph Banno was arrested by Panama City Police, after Walton County Sheriff’s Office Investigators determined the

demand note Banno had written, was on the back of a CVS receipt, that led to his identification.


April 10 ~ Curtis Brown was shot and killed by Thomas McCoy Jr. on the campus of North West Florida State College. This lead to a

large scale investigation adding up to approximately 771 combined man hours.

April 21 ~ Murder Suspect Thomas Ford McCoy Jr. of Laurel Hill was wounded in a shootout with members of the United States

Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Tampa. He was found by efforts of the multi-agency task force; in relation to the homicide on April 10

at North West Florida State College.

April 25 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s deputies intercepted Joshua Cartwright, the suspect in a

shooting leaving two Okaloosa County deputies dead. Cartwright fled into Walton County, where he

flipped his truck after veering off the road to avoid spike strips. Walton County deputies exchanged

gun fire with Cartwright, which subsequently resulted in the suspect’s death.

May 22 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s Office announced three new K-9 teams have achieved

National Certification and are now on the street.

May 31 ~ Lt. Allen White retires after 27-years of service with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

June 11 ~ The Walton County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a Paxton resident that a 15ft alligator was sitting in the middle of

the road. Deputy Sheriff Richard Huxhold and Deputy Sheriff Jason Leddon contained the animal with their vehicles until the Florida

Fish and Wildlife could arrive.

July 6 ~ Tens of thousands of visitors spent July 4th weekend along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Walton

County Sheriff’s Office handled more than twice the amount of calls of an average shift.

July 9 ~ The Walton County Sheriff’s Office participated in “Operation Falcon,” which brought

federal and local cops together. During the month-long operation, some 353 warrants were cleared in

the Northern District of Florida.

July 21 ~ Walton County Sheriff deputies catch a burglar who was responsible for breaking into Nick’s Seafood Restaurant on three

separate occasions. Two deputies conducted an undercover surveillance inside the business for nearly a week, before catching the robber

sneaking in the girl’s bathroom window around four in the morning.

August 8 ~ Tropical Storm Claudette made its way past the Walton County Coastline.

August 12 ~ Stephanie Lockwood of the Liberty Community was shot and killed. Following an extensive investigation Teresa McKee

was arrested.

August 24 ~ Jeffrey Allen Yates was arrested and charged with the death of Elizabeth Andrews. Ms. Andrews was found by a

caregiver in her Gaskin home. Yates appears to have been searching for prescription pain medicine in the home at the time of

Ms. Andrews’s death. Yates was developed as a suspect during the investigation and was arrested in Okaloosa County after a

short pursuit.

August 26 ~ Captain Tom Ring, the newly appointed Special Weapons and Tactical Commander, had try-outs for the Walton County

Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team.

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August 28 ~ Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies assist in a manhunt for Matheos

(Matthew) Pitkas. Pitkas led Walton County Sheriff’s personnel in a high-speed gun battle along

U.S. Highway 98, before crashing his vehicle, leading to a two day manhunt by 143 individuals from

multiple agencies.

August 30 ~ Pitkas dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after being surrounded by both

Walton and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies.

August 30 ~ Wilson Junior Mount surrenders peacefully after barricading himself inside his

mobile home on King Lake Boulevard for twelve hours.

September 8 ~ An early morning search warrant served at a mobile home park Northwest of

DeFuniak Springs results in the arrest of the occupant on a host of felony related drug charges.

While inside the residence Narcotic Investigators also found what appeared to be a pipe bomb

inside the home. The Region one Domestic Security Task Force Bomb Squad was alerted.

September 11 ~ Sheriff Adkinson is selected to co-chair the Northwest Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force in the

upcoming year.

September 14 ~ Alert Citizens and the quick action of Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies led to the weekend arrest of a fugitive from

justice. Garnett Lee Melton eluded authorities during “Operation Falcon”, earlier in the summer. Phone tips from local citizens led

deputies to a residence in Freeport where they arrested Melton.

September 16 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s Office is awarded both Federal and State grant dollars, to help with the purchasing of new

non-lethal weapons. These weapons will consist of: tasers, pepper ball guns, and bean bag projectiles.

September 30 ~ Thomas Kirwin, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, recognized current Walton County Sheriff’s Office

employee, Will Curtis and former employee, Marvin Williford. The two were recognized for their work in the successful investigation

of Dr. Robert Ignasiak, Jr.. Earlier in the year, Dr. Ignasiak was sentenced to 24-years and three months in prison.

October 7 ~ The First Judicial State Attorney’s Office cleared a Walton County Sheriff deputy in the fatal shooting of Jeffery Weekley.

October 8 ~ The First Judicial State Attorney’s Office exonerates Walton County lawmen who where involved in a gun battle with

Joshua Cartwright on April 25. Cartwright killed two Okaloosa County deputies prior to his battle with Walton County deputies. The

report states that Cartwright ultimately died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

October 8 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s Office was awarded a “Combating Crime in

A Rural Community” Grant. The nationally competitive grant for $818,728.54 is the

largest grant ever awarded to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and will establish and

fully fund a Walton County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Unit.

October 15 ~ Dr. Burden and Dr. Ennis of Destin Plastic Surgery donated over

six thousand dollars to purchase Walton County Sheriff K9 deputy, Nero. Nero

is a Dutch Sheppard.


October 22 ~ The Sheriff’s Office announced it is starting a citizen’s volunteer program, an opportunity to take an up

close and personal look at the office, learn new skills, and give back some time and energy to the citizens and visitors of

Walton County.

October 23 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s Office employees participate in the Walton County Fair, handing out

important information to the general public.

October 30 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Patrol received a generous donation. Lt Farris was

presented with a check from the DeFuniak Springs Wal-Mart store manager Chris Wilcox.

November 18 ~ A masked man went into an unlocked home in Dune Allen Beach. The suspect held the

victims at gunpoint, demanding money. One victim was able to reach his gun and ordered the suspect to the

ground. However the suspect managed to jump to his feet, push the victim holding the gun, jump off the third

floor balcony, jump up and runaway.

November 19 ~ Donna Shank was sworn-in as Sheriff Adkinson’s first environmental deputy.

November 30 ~ Healthmart Regional Medical Center’s auxiliary members presented Lt. Eddie Farris with a financial contribution to

help with the Santa Patrol.

December 4 ~ The two week long, National “Click it or Ticket” campaign was considered

a major success in keeping drivers buckled up on area roadways.

December 16 ~ Sheriff’s Office staff and several volunteers shopped at the DeFuniak Springs

Wal-Mart using the Santa Patrol funds. The goal of the Santa Patrol is to make Christmas for

over 200 Walton County children.

December 17 ~ Sheriff’s Office employees and other city and county officials

enjoyed a Christmas party and awards ceremony, held at the DeFuniak Springs

Civic Center. Among the many awards presented, Mrs. Anita Tyrues was named

“Employee of the Year” and Investigator Dustin Burlison was awarded “Deputy

of the Year.”

December 21 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies along with other area agencies

were able to locate an elderly woman, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, who

went missing from her home in the middle of the night.

December 23 ~ Walton County Sheriff’s Narcotic Investigators arrested CJ Rhodes at a

residence in Choctaw Beach, where Rhodes was hiding under the bathroom sink. This made

the twenty third Methamphetamine Lab bust for the Walton County Sheriff’s Narcotic Unit

this year. Misty Singletary was also arrested making this her second arrest in less than

seventy-two hours.

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Employee of the Year

Anita Tyrues

Employee of the Quarter – 2009

Employee of the Quarter – 1st Quarter Teresa Jackson

Employee of the Quarter – 2nd Quarter Jeff Skipper

Employee of the Quarter – 3rd Quarter Jim Carey

Employee of the Quarter – 4th Quarter Anita Tyrues

2009 AWARDS

Deputy of the Quarter – 2009

Deputy of the Quarter – 1st Quarter Inv. Donna Armstrong

Deputy of the Quarter – 2nd Quarter Deputy Dustin Burlison

Deputy of the Quarter – 3rd Quarter Deputy Nick McMillian

Deputy of the Quarter – 4th Quarter Deputy Julie Powell

Medal of Valor

Chris Lehman

Phillip Currid

Meritorious Service Medal

Sgt Allen White

Life Saving Medal

Deputy Steven Tector

Purple Heart Medal

Deputy Mike Davis

Distinguished Service Award

Jennifer Bryan

Deputy Andy Tillis

Deputy of the Year

Dustin Burlison

Excellence in Teamwork

Greg Bass, Tim Barney, Monica Johnson,

Nicole Barley, Justin Mock

Patricia Wilson, Nyleah Turner

Rebecca Bryan, Vanessa Black,

Stephanie Manning, Sarah Biernacki

Jason Adkinson, Steve Tector, Leo Cook,

Mike Davis, Johnny Jordan, Chris Lehman

Curtis Knapp

Tina Brazile, Leah McLeod

Exceptional Performance Award

Jerid Day


1

Walton County Florida

OFFICE of the SHERIFF

Contact Us

Physical / Mailing Address

Walton County Sheriff’s Office: 752 Triple G Road DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433

Hours

Monday - Friday: 8:00AM - 5:00PM

Phone Numbers

EMERGENCY: 911

General Information/Office (NON-EMERGENCY): 850-892-8186

Dispatch: 850-892-8111

www.WaltonSO.org

Written, edited, and produced by Camile Cox.

Designed by Judy Adamski. Printed by Tony Mennillo – Arturo’s Studio

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